Any car transmission problem can be frustrating, but it can be even more annoying if your vehicle won’t shift into gear. If you’re experiencing this problem, don’t assume that your Honda Civic has a serious transmission issue yet. It might be a problem that you can quickly fix yourself and get moving immediately.
If your Honda Civic gear shift is stuck, check the brake light switch to see if it’s plugged in and functioning correctly. Otherwise, override the shift interlock mechanism to get your transmission out of park. If overriding the mechanism doesn’t work, you may need to replace the solenoid.
In the rest of this article, you’ll learn the following info in detail:
- How to fix a stuck Honda Civic gear shift.
- Why Honda Civic won’t shift into gear and how to fix it.
- Why Honda Civic automatic transmission is not shifting and how to fix it.
- Honda Civic transmission won’t engage and how to fix it.
- How to fix Honda Civic shifting hard.
Honda Civic Gear Shift Stuck
A stuck gear shifter is a typical transmission problem in Honda Civic cars. In some cases, this problem is actually a safety feature and not a significant cause for concern. If your car still won’t shift out of park, here are some possible causes and how to fix them.
Brake Switch Failure
Your Honda Civic gear shift can get stuck if the brake light is not functioning. This problem could arise due to a blown brake light fuse or a faulty brake light switch. The brake light switch and the shift interlock solenoid are interconnected such that the former sends a signal to the latter when the brake pedal is pushed to release the shifter.
For this reason, if the brake light switch is faulty, it will not send the required signal to the mechanism, and the shifter will be stuck.
How to Fix: You can check if this is the source of the problem by pushing on the brake and checking if the brake light comes on. The best way to be sure is to have a friend or family member stand behind your vehicle and observe the lights.
If the brake light doesn’t come on, check if it is plugged in. If it’s plugged in and still not functioning, you’ll need to get it tested by a mechanic.
Damaged or Faulty Shift Interlock Solenoid
If the brake light switch is plugged in and functioning, then the problem could result from a faulty shift interlock solenoid. This mechanism is present in your Honda Civic to prevent it from shifting out of park until you push down on the brake. If the solenoid doesn’t receive any signal from the brake pedal, it won’t release the gear shift.
This mechanism helps avoid accidentally shifting your car into reverse or drive and causing damage to people or property. However, it can also be a nuisance if malfunctioning or damaged.
How to Fix: Your Honda Civic has an override feature that allows you to apply to release the stuck gear shift. Each model has a different system, so you’ll need to find where yours is. However, you’ll find it on the shifter console just alongside the shifter lever in most cases.
The copyright owner of this article is Knowmyauto.com and was first published on Feb 12, 2021..
The override slot is usually protected by a small cover that you can pry open with a pin knife or screwdriver. After opening the access cover of the override mechanism:
- Apply the brake.
- Push down into the slot with the screwdriver.
- Put your gear into neutral.
Here’s a video to further guide you on overriding the shift interlock mechanism:
However, in some cases, overriding the shift interlock mechanism may not solve the problem if it is damaged, and you’ll need to replace the solenoid. Fortunately, replacing it is easy, and you can find it in many auto-repair shops.
Honda Civic Won’t Shift Into Gear
If your car doesn’t shift into gear, it can leave you stranded and having to delay or change your plans. If you’re having a problem shifting your car into gear, here are some possible causes and how to fix them.
Low Transmission Fluid
Low or dirty transmission fluid is one of the leading causes of cars not shifting into gear. Your car’s transmission fluid lubricates the meshing gears, linkages, and other moving parts of the transmission and keeps them working properly. Several problems can result from low or leaking transmission fluid, including the car not shifting into gear.
How to Fix: To know if the transmission is the cause of the problem, take your car for a short drive to get the engine warm. Locate the transmission fluid dipstick and wipe it clean with a clean cloth. Next, return the dipstick slowly, leave it for a few seconds and pull it back out.
If the dipstick’s fluid level is not at the “Full” line, you’ll need to refill it. Be sure only to use the fluid designed for your car. You should also do a visual inspection around your transmission to know if it’s leaking. Don’t also forget to check the color and smell. If it has a red, black, or dark brown color and smells burnt, you’ll need to have a mechanic service your transmission.
Honda Civic Automatic Transmission Not Shifting
The transmission of your Honda Civic is a combination of several complicated mechanisms. Unfortunately, a problem with a single component can disrupt the functioning of the whole system. Since your automatic is designed to do the shifting of gears for you, it usually points to a problem if it doesn’t.
Condition of Transmission Fluid
If your automatic transmission is not shifting, the first thing to check is your transmission fluid condition. I explained this problem in detail in the previous section. The procedure for checking the fluid level, color, and smell is the same for the manual and automatic transmission.
However, in the case of an automatic transmission, the fluid also produces the hydraulic pressure required to allow the system to shift gears automatically. So, if it is not at the right level, the pump will draw air into the hydraulic system and affect the fluid’s normal flow.
How to Fix: Since your car doesn’t burn off or consume transmission fluid, there must be a leak somewhere. The first thing to do is figure out where the source of the leak is and fix it. Next, fill up the fluid to the appropriate level. You may need a mechanic’s help if your Honda Civic Automatic doesn’t utilize a transmission fluid dipstick.
A faulty ECM (Engine Control Unit) can also cause shifting problems in automatic transmission because it controls different sensors and actuators on your engine to ensure optimal performance. So, if there’s a problem with the ECM, it may affect your car’s shifting function.
Also, your Honda Civic may not shift if there is a poor electronics connection in your car. This problem could come from a failing solenoid or worn-out sensors. A faulty wire, lose connection, or blown fuse may also cause your vehicle not to shift.
How to Fix: In most cases, you’ll need a professional to help you figure out if it’s an ECM or electronics problem. An expert will use advanced digital diagnostic equipment to identify any issues with your car’s sensors and connections. If your ECM is damaged, you’ll need to replace it to get your vehicle functioning correctly again.
Honda Civic Transmission Problems
Despite being one of the most popular and reputable car manufacturers, Honda cars have been reported to have transmission problems, with the Civic model being no exception. While newer versions of the Honda Civic experience fewer problems than older versions, here are some of the transmission problems common to both versions.
- Failing or delayed transmission: The 2001 Honda Civic is the most reported version to have this transmission problem. It typically occurs when your car refuses or takes a while to shift from park to drive. This problem usually occurs as a result of low transmission fluid or faulty ECM.
- Transmission slipping: A transmission system in good working condition should shift smoothly. This problem may be accompanied by a burning smell, inability to reverse, or high revving engine. Some of the causes are low transmission fluid, faulty ECM, clutch problems, solenoid issues, or worn-out transmission parts.
- Leaking transmission fluid: A pool of reddish-colored fluid is one of the common signs of leaking fluid. Unfortunately, many Honda Civic users have complained about this problem with their cars. If your transmission is leaking fluid, it needs immediate attention or servicing before it causes a more significant issue.
- Burning smell: This problem may be caused by leaking fluid or overheating and friction among the transmission system’s moving parts. In addition to a burning smell, you may also notice a jerky operation when acceleration and a rattling sound during low speed. Topping up the transmission fluid may help to solve this problem.
- Gear shift stuck: The 1999, 2001, 2008, and 2013 versions of the Honda Civic all have this problem in common. This problem may be caused by brake switch failure, damaged shift interlock solenoid, low transmission fluid, clutch problems, or faulty torque converter.
Honda Civic Transmission Not Engaging
Delayed transmission or transmission not engaging is a common problem with most Honda Civic models. There is usually a long delay of about 2 to 3 seconds before the gear engages. It occurs as a result of poor and slow operation with the clutches or bands.
If your transmission is delayed or does not engage at all, it could be as a result of low or dirty transmission fluid, clogged transmission filter, faulty shift interlock solenoid, worn seals or bands, or faulty ECM.
How to Fix: If the problem is the transmission fluid, you’ll need to fix the leak’s source and top it up. For most other problems like faulty ECM or failing shift interlock solenoid, you’ll need to replace them.
Honda Civic Shifting Problems
Issues in the transmission cause most Honda Civic shifting problems. Some of the problems you’re likely to encounter are as follows:
- Stuck gear shift
- Delayed gear engagement
- Transmission not engaging
- Transmission slipping
Honda Civic Shifting Hard
If your Honda Civic is shifting hard, grinding, hesitating, or jerking when changing gears, it could be a problem with your shift interlock solenoid. The cause of this problem can be a broken internal spring, low or dirty transmission fluid, or improper fluid temperature. If not fixed immediately, it can cause further damage to your transmission.
How to Fix: This problem usually requires an inspection, and in most cases, by an expert. The most common culprit is the transmission fluid, which will either need topping up or replacement. If the problem is because of a failing interlock solenoid, you’ll need to replace it.
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KnowMyAuto is the sole owner of this article was published on Feb 12, 2021 and last updated on .